Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant and is continuously being lauded for its health benefits, including aiding sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and helping insomniacs sleep. Now, pregnant women are touting the benefits of taking CBD while pregnant, from relieving nausea to reducing pain. But, is it completely safe? Here is what you need to know about CBD oil and pregnancy, including risks and precautions you may want to consider.
Is CBD Safe?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found no adverse health outcomes but rather several medical applications for CBD. However, because the FDA has not approved CBD for medical treatment, there is a lack of research and data to show how it can affect pregnant women and their babies. “There are no regulations on what dosage is appropriate or what form of delivery is appropriate, and there are no standardized formulations,” Dr. Talitha L. Bruney, medical director for the Comprehensive Family Care Center, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at the Montefiore Health System, told Brit + Co. For these reasons, pregnant women should always consult a doctor first before taking CBD.
CBD and Morning Sickness
Morning sickness, consisting of nausea and vomiting, plagues more than 50 percent of pregnant women. But researchers have found that taking a limited dosage of CBD relieved nausea and vomiting in subjects. In another (anecdotal) case, a mother claimed that taking CBD immediately relieved her morning sickness. It is believed that the oil reduces nausea by interacting with serotonin receptors.
Its Effects on Stress and Anxiety
Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, bringing a child into the world can be a stressful, anxiety-inducing experience. Studies, both here and here, have shown that CBD has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties.
CBD and Sleep
Insomnia affects approximately 78 percent of women for a variety of reasons, including body aches, heartburn, frequent urination, anxiety and hormonal changes. Studies have shown CBD to increase total sleep time and improve sleep quality.
What About Pain?
Many pregnant women complain of body aches, pelvic pressure and general discomfort. CBD has been used to treat pain in varying forms, including chronic pain associated with migraine headaches and arthritis.
Is CBD For Me?
Though much of the research and data on CBD and pregnancy is anecdotal and the FDA has yet to approve the substance for medical use, it should not be overlooked. "Research has shown that CBD is a molecule that helps with neurogenesis, the development of healthy brain cells," Dr. Stuart Titus, Ph.D. told Romper. He added, “The more cannabinoids a mom has, the better off her kids are.”
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.